The Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) is not acting in good faith and is breaching the law over its decisions to close courses, says TEU.
TEU organiser Lawrence O’Halloran says the polytechnic announced specific decisions about closing courses, increasing class sizes and cutting staff numbers through the media and before consulting with staff who would be affected.
WITT is required, under its agreement with TEU, to consult on any reviews or restructuring and genuinely consider any advice union members give before finalising any details.
WITT’s chief executive Barbara George stated in a media release that it will close six courses, raise its student: staff ratio from one tutor per 13.5 students, to one tutor per 16 students and cut people working at the polytechnic by 5.5 full-time equivalent staff.
O’Halloran says this all breaches the polytechnic’s legal duty of good faith.
“WITT has apologised for accidentally releasing the information to the media and for not consulting with people working at the polytechnic first. But we believe the whole proposed review process has now been predetermined.”
O’Halloran says TEU members are meeting on 23 November and then plan to meet WITT’s chief executive to tell her their views, and discuss how she intends to rectify her actions.